On Thursday, Illinois Republican Governor Bruce Rauner signed HB 40 into law. This means that Illinois taxpayers will be required to fund elective Medicaid abortions. It also means that, should Roe v. Wade be eventually overturned, the state will still continue to allow abortions.
Rauner’s signature comes after flip-flopping and broken promises. In April he said he would veto the bill, but earlier this month changed his mind, and has signed it, less than a week after receiving it. He had 60 days to sign.
Rauner not too long ago “recogniz[ed] the sharp divisions of opinion of taxpayer funding of abortion.” Indeed, polling reflects that Americans of various demographics and opinions on abortion do not approve of taxpayer funding of abortion.
Abortion advocates have chosen to highlight the fact that HB 40 guarantees the legality of abortion post-Roe in the state. But other states, like Delaware, have enacted similar laws guaranteeing this (which completely disregards the lives of thousands of preborn children), without forcing taxpayers to fork over their hard-earned dollars to fund the death of innocents. Why would supporters of HB 40 choose to highlight this part of the law instead of the mandated taxpayer funding? Perhaps it’s because they know forcing Americans to fund something, especially something as morally objectionable as abortion, is highly unpopular. Here are three reasons why HB 40 is a bad idea:
1. HB 40 is bad for preborn Illinoisans and their mothers.
Michael New, an Associate Professor of Economics at Ave Maria University and an Associate Scholar at the Charlotte Lozier Institute, who tweeted about the implications of the bill as it reached Rauner’s desk, spoke with Live Action News after Rauner signed the bill into law. He said:
HB 40 certainly will increase the number of abortions in Illinois. There is a broad consensus among researchers, both pro-life and pro-choice, that taxpayer subsidies of abortion raise abortion rates. My 2016 analysis of the Hyde Amendment published by the Charlotte Lozier Institute predicts that removing Hyde protections (which is what HB 40 does) will result in 3,800 more abortions a year in Illinois.
…The Hyde Amendment places strict limits on the ability of the federal government to fund abortion through Medicaid. However, states have always been free to pursue their own policy. Prior to today, 15 states funded abortion through Medicaid. In eleven of these states, the policy was imposed through a judicial ruling. In the four other states, health departments simply decided Medicaid would cover elective abortions. As such, Governor Rauner made history in an ignominious way.
Abortion advocates believe this bill will help low-income women. The media has reported that “groups of women” met with the governor in favor of the bill — as if that somehow represents the views of all women. Sadly, these low-income women will now also have to deal with the physical risks of abortion, especially if they undergo the a late-term abortion, like the one shown in the video below. There are psychological risks too, which are not always immediate. Thus, women may suffer years down the road from regret, after receiving what they believed was “help” from the state.
2. HB 40 is a bad idea economically.
New had previously spoken with Live Action News after Oregon’ governor signed legislation into law for taxpayer funding of abortions, including late-term ones. “Oregon already did fund abortions through Medicaid. The Oregon bill required private insurance companies to cover abortion,” New explained. Thus, “Illinois became the first state where taxpayer funding of abortion came about through the democratic process,” he said.
The signing of Illinois’ law comes despite a horrendous debt crisis in the state. Illinois Right to Life has noted:
There is no cap to the number of abortions that could be covered by Medicaid, and essentially no cap to the amount of taxpayer dollars spent. The General Assembly is essentially handing over a blank check to the abortion industry.
IL RTL has estimated that the law, allowing unrestricted Medicaid abortions, could cost the state $21,379,713. In addition to the moral ramifications of abortion, how is this economically wise? Wouldn’t that money be spent better elsewhere in improving the state, so that women could get the support they truly need, without resorting to abortion?
Frankly, the state of Illinois, which has already had to spend time and money in court defending another of Rauner’s pro-abortion bills requiring pregnancy resource centers to advertise for and promote abortion, cannot afford to fight for the law in court.
3. HB 40 could be a bad political move for Rauner.
Rauner promised that he would have no social agenda as governor. Clearly, if he is trying to demonstrate this, he couldn’t have picked worse laws to sign. The laws he has enacted are not merely about the legal status of abortion in Illinois, but about forcing residents to give up their First Amendment rights on abortion — and then to fund it.
Rauner’s decision has not gone unnoticed, and therefore, there’s a political risk for Rauner at play. Many are already calling for a primary challenger, should the governor decide to run for a second term.
The website of the Illinois Republican Party espouses pro-life values. It even claims that the party is “[f]ollowing in the footsteps of… Henry Hyde.” Yet Rauner, a pro-abortion Republican (he and his wife Diana have financially supported Planned Parenthood for years), signed legislation that goes against Hyde’s amendment to prohibit taxpayer dollars from funding abortions.
Rauner not only expressed an initial intention to veto this bill, but misled his party when he said he had no social agenda. Clearly, a Planned Parenthood supporter (who donates tens of thousands of dollars to the nation’s largest abortion organization) is not impartial with regard to abortion. In enacting this pro-abortion bill, he “tragically broke a promise,” as New mentioned.
Prarie State Wire, which broke the news that Rauner would sign the bill, noted in previous article how this is a losing issue for Rauner, who sided not with his own party, but with Democrats in the state, to further a pro-abortion agenda:
Every House and Senate Republican voted against the bill, and all seven Republican representatives in the U.S. House recently sent Rauner a letter urging him to veto the legislation “that wrongfully requires taxpayers to participate in funding abortions.”
The law will not only be a loss for Rauner’s state residents, including those not yet born, but for economic and political reasons.